I was going to come up with a list of things I’d like to achieve this year but I find myself sat here thinking that no matter how grand (or not so grand) one’s plans are, life seems to have its own way of unravelling and it sort of reminds me of that interview question “Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?” My response to this has always been “who knows? I like to think that in life, opportunities present themselves (I actually use a “road junction” as an analogy, sad! I know!) and until that point, that opportunity may be something that I’d never considered before”.

Of course, its good to have goals and something to aim for, and I can see the benefit of this on a professional level but given the importance and the impact that personal and emotional stuff can have on your professional life I find it difficult to write my anything down, without seeming shallow. (@oldandrewuk would be pleased to know I’m not going to gush about how much I love my kids, as I don’t have any!). Let me explain, and trust me, I am not writing this for sympathy … that’s not my style and to be honest its quite therapeutic, but not in a “yoghurt-knitter”/”lets talk about how you feel” type of way. I am sure that those of you that read this blog will allow me to indulge myself by divulging some personal “stuff”. It doesn’t happen often, and if you are so inclined, you can stop reading now … you have been warned.

2012 saw my brother being killed in a motorbike accident – I am immensely proud of him wanting to be an organ donor, and this year we received a couple of lovely letters from the recipients and it made me realise how precious life is, but also more importantly how lucky I am. Just as I was moving on and accepting this, 2013 came along and I found myself dealing with my dad being hospitalised by social services (along with a load of shenigans in between  – involving police/ identity fraud/scumbags (excuse the term!) running up £1000s in debts in his name and trying to deal with all this from 120 miles away) and then he was placed in a nursing home and finally at the end hospitalised and treated under the “Liverpool Care Pathway” which is just hideous. I have now come to terms with the fact that I am an “orphan” (my mam was killed 15 years ago in a hit-and-run, oh please! don’t feel sorry for me! no seriously! You just couldn’t make this stuff up) and I know that sounds bizarre coming from a 41 year old, but I was the baby of the family and even though I knew it was inevitable as my dad was always on older father (he was nearly 50 when I born) I wouldn’t wish that kind of end to anyone.

My career, even before teaching (I’ve been around a bit! ooh er missus! but I mean in the corporate world) was, and remains to this day important to me, and if anything, today it’s even more important due to the impact we can make as teachers. Every day we have the opportunity to make a difference, and in years to come, some of the students we teach, will sit around on a New Years Eve and discuss the people who made a difference to them – my aim has always been, for one, yes! I’d be happy for just one student to remember me as someone that encouraged them to do something differently in order to achieve their goals, which is why I wanted to teach in a challenging school.

That brings me back to the point – as individuals we do not operate in isolation and have personal “stuff” to deal with. Some of which, is in our control, but most of it isn’t and that is why I have found it so difficult to come up with some aims for 2014. I think, and this is tough, that my underlying aim for 2014 is to continue to try to be the best I can be – whether that’s the way I deal with other people, personally or professionally, the way I do my job – basically in every way!. It’s simple and involves hard work but I will have the satisfaction that I’ve done my best (how sad is that? I actually really believe that!!).

Being the “best version of me” means that I have to deal with the one fly in the ointment, and that is to resolve a 5 month stand-off of not speaking between me and my remaining brother. Nothing serious, just “congenital stubbornness” and I will get it sorted on New Years Eve. It is after all the time for new beginnings … and on that note … Happy New Year!!  

**shuffles off embarrassed for being so indulgent**